Cum hoc ergo propter hoc

The phrase “Cum hoc ergo propter hoc” is Latin for “with this, therefore because of this.” This phrase is sometimes described to as “CORRELATION IMPLIES CAUSATION,” assuming that when two events occur together there is often a claimed cause and effect relationship. But simply being adjacent in time is not sufficient to prove causality. On the other hand, using the idea of traceability to relate the “Why,” “What,” and “How” ensures that you will have a causation clearly defined for correlation and be able to show this evidence if required.

Start with a whiteboard or large sheet of paper and put the “Whys” and “Whats” on the left side, with lines for the relationships you identified in Chapter 5. Leave plenty of space on the right for the “How” information, because you're going to lay this out on a timeline. Because the pieces usually move around a lot as you work out the sequence, we recommend using sticky notes or something similar for the “How” information. Create a sticky note for each of the activities identified in the last exercise. Place each one on the whiteboard to the right of the “What” that it relates to. Space the “How” out as you do this along a horizontal timeline, with the start of the story on the left, working right to the conclusion. As you build the timeline, add in connections to show dependencies where one set of activities cannot start until a preceding set has completed.

As you put each sticky note on the whiteboard, try to group ...

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